There's this really cool hole in the wall pizza place right next to my work. I get their personal pizza on the regular. Not only because it's good, but because it comes with... wait for it... unlimited toppings!!! I'm talking, cheese, garlic, onion, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, Italian sausage, bacon, more cheese, and and and and...
I'll be honest, I overdo it sometimes. When there are so many options and none of them cost extra, then why not, right? Usually when I get this pizza though, one thing always holds true... I'm going to be mad sleepy about an hour after I eat it, it never fails.
What about the opposite of that feeling? Have you ever been so hungry that you couldn't think about anything else? That feeling that drives you to that goal of eating is a powerful motivator. Before modern times this feeling drove us to hunt and gather. Food was not something you did, it was a requirement for life. For many of us today, even though we have to eat to live, we really do live to eat. I'm sure you can think of a time when you were eating and talking about the next meal you were going to have. We really do love food.
We generally think about things in extremes. Are we full or are we empty. This is why we struggle so much with the idea of figuring out if the glass is half full or half empty. We want a definitive answer - are we good, or not?
There are three things we need to talk about when it comes to being full:
1) Are you actually full?
If you've ever went on a diet, then you know that you can actually eat way less than you think and still get full. So it's actually possible to think that you're still hungry, when, if you'd chill for a second, you'd realize that you're actually getting full. So ask yourself, are you actually full? This is not to say, do you have more room for something else, this is to say, that you might actually be full and not even know it. Sometimes, especially in the American culture, can push ourselves to do more and more and that is where we find our value. It's important to realize when it's enough, even though you could probably do more.
2) What are you full of?
There's so much that you can be full of -good and bad. Are you full of selfish pride or full of grace? Are you full of fear or faith? Are you full of the world or the things of God? All of these things are as real as you and me and can take up every part of our lives. What you're full of will dictate how you live your life.
Philippians 3:17 -21: Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
If there's anything that I don't want said about me, it's that my god is my belly. I don't want to glory in shame and my mind set on earthly things. If we are full, let us be full of Him.
3) Be careful when you're trying to get full of God...
There's a dangerous downside to becoming full of God believe it or not. Some, typically unknowingly, have attempted to get full of God and in the process have become full of religion, judgement, and legalism. In doing so, taking the place and role of God onto themselves. This is the last thing the Lord wants. In fact, this was the #1 thing that Jesus pushed against while he was here on earth. He doesn't need us to do the judging, he's got a plan to do that all on his own. He hated the religious people. He disliked their rituals and the way they passed judgement on people that weren't as "holy" as they were. Stay humble. Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that you should settle, compromise or do less. We need to chase after God with our whole heart, holding nothing back.
If we are going to talk about fullness, we've got to talk about emptiness.
There are certainly things in our lives that we should be intentionally empty from. Things like pride, anger, jealousy, strife, hatred, and sinful desires. Emptying ourselves of these things is refreshing and ultimately brings peace, joy and happiness to our lives.
But what happens when you FEEL empty? This since that there is a void that just can't seem to be filled. Sometimes this happens in our relationships with those that should be closest to us. People leave, situations change, life happens. In the midst of these situations, what do we do?
What about that burning desire in our hearts for the things of God. What if the enemy has come at us so much and life has hit us so hard that it feels like The Lord is a million miles away and any prayer that you can muster up just seems to bounce off the ceiling. What then?
Asking these questions and being in this situation is like being physically hungry and having nothing to eat. It's like driving by restaurant and not having any money to buy food. This feeling can overwhelm you and drag you to a deep and dark place.
Here's the answer - much like in the physical, you've got to have some family that can feed you. A place you can go that you know if you show up hungry, they'll give you food and take care of you. If you find yourself in this place, it's so important that you have a strong, Godly community that will surround you, love you, and lift you up. When loved ones leave or tragedy happens, they can step in and be there to help you. When you don't know where to turn they can help you find the foot of the savior again. Don't sleep on the idea of community. You can't do this by yourself.
Let's get to the point of it all.
There are things in our life that we can fill ourselves with and there are times where we wish we had something to do... If you've found yourself in one or both of these situations, then you know that neither one are healthy. One can lead to burnout, lethargy or an unhealthy view of God and those around you, while the other leaves you hopeless, depressed and wondering why...
Staying hungry is being intentional and it's not forced. Staying hungry has a purpose behind it. You're just below the line of full and just above the line of empty. It's a magical space that drives you to continually search and try new things. It's a place where The Lord can use you because there's space for him to change the plans. It's a place where I believe Jesus lives. There's a wonderful benefit in leaving your dreams just beyond your reach and if by chance you grab them, throwing some new dreams out there that can only be touched by the help of God.
So today, identify where you are in this process. Have you become so full that you're lazy and think you've got it all figured out? Are you in a rut? Or maybe you've become so empty that you wonder why it even matters anymore. Days pass and there's no purpose in them. Let's work towards that sweet spot. Pray and ask God to help you find purpose and drive. Ask him to forgive you for being so full of the wrong things and strive to get some things off your plate. In the end, it will all be worth it.
Until next time,